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Abstract Guidelines

Submit your poster abstract by March 14, 2014. Abstracts will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Clarity (concise, clearly written),
  • Organization (effective introduction, problem, body, results, and conclusions), and
  • Content (accurately describes project).

A winner will be chosen for each poster category. Please refer to the tips and examples below to learn more about writing effective abstracts.

So You Need to Write an Abstract …

An abstract is a concise summary of your research, but not just any summary. It is a summary of your project intended for other researchers, both within your field of study and from other scientific disciplines. Not everyone who reads your abstract will necessarily be knowledgeable of the terminology in your field, so organization and clarity are essential in your writing. Imagine you have a word budget, and every word counts: keep it concise. The writing style should be formal, and it should entice readers to learn more about your project. In 150-200 words, you should highlight the main details of your project, including your purpose and your methods as well as the results, conclusions, and your recommendations.

In your abstract, address the following:

  • Introduction: What was your motivation for doing this project? Why should anyone care about the problem and results?

  • Research Problem: What problem are you trying to solve? What’s the scope of your project?

  • Body: What was your approach? How did you go about solving or making progress on the problem?

  • Results: What’s the answer?

  • Conclusions: What are the implications of your answer?

(Information adapted from Purdue OWL – “Writing a Report: Abstract” and “How to Write an Abstract” by Philip Koopman, Carnegie Mellon University – Oct.1997) 


Examples of Good (and Not-So-Good) Abstracts

Good and Not-So-Good Abstract Examples: Life Sciences

Good and Not-So-Good Abstract Examples: Physical Sciences

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